Witness the Arctic provides information on current arctic research efforts and findings, significant research initiatives, national policy affecting arctic research, international activities, and profiles of institutions with major arctic research efforts. Witness serves an audience of arctic scientists, educators, agency personnel, and policy makers. Witness was published biannually in hardcopy from 1995-2008 (archives are available below) and is currently published online 3-4 times annually, depending on newsworthy events.
With the Spring 2009 issue, ARCUS changed the format of Witness the Arctic. To provide more frequent updates and reduce printing and mailing costs and associated environmental impacts, the newsletter is now distributed online in three or four shorter issues per year, depending on newsworthy events.
SEARCH Strategic Planning
The SEARCH Science Steering Committee (SSC) is continuing its strategic planning activities that began at the fall 2010 SSC meeting. As SEARCH is transitioning from a planning phase to an implementation phase, the SSC is developing a guiding vision, five-year goals, and an implementation plan to develop priorities and a clear path forward for SEARCH.
The SSC has developed a draft Vision and Mission statement focused on providing a scientific foundation to help society understand and respond to a rapidly changing Arctic. The SSC is finalizing the Vision and Mission with the SEARCH Interagency Program Management Committee and will distribute it in summer 2011.
The next stage of SEARCH strategic planning will be the development of five-year goals to provide specific priorities and to direct outcomes for the program. The SSC will meet in August to develop the 5-year goals, which will be finalized this fall.
Sea Ice Outlook and Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook
The Sea Ice Outlook 2011 season has been launched with a call for contributions for the first Outlook report, to be published in June. The SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook, supported by NSF, NOAA, and volunteer efforts, provides a synthesis of community projections of the September arctic sea ice minimum.
This year, the scientific synthesis of the pan-arctic outlooks will be led by Jim Overland (NOAA), and the synthesis of the regional outlooks will be led by Adrienne Tivy and Hajo Eicken (University of Alaska Fairbanks). Additions to this season's reports will include increased reporting of error estimates, further development of a data resources webpage, and information on sea ice thickness.
In March, ARCUS distributed a Sea Ice Outlook user survey, which was completed by 77 participants. The survey documented a wide variety of ways in which the Outlook is utilized: to evaluate modeling methods, as a classroom resource, as a tool for resource management, and others. A full report from the survey will be available this summer.
The Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook 2011 season has also been launched. The Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook provides weekly reports on sea ice and weather conditions as a resource for Alaska Native subsistence hunters, coastal communities, and others interested in sea ice and walrus. The weekly reports, which combine satellite imagery, forecasting, and local observations, began in early April and will continue through June.
Further information about the Sea Ice Outlook can be found at: http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/. For more information about the Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook, please go to: http://www.arcus.org/search/siwo.
SSC Welcomes New Members
Four new SSC members were recently appointed: Robert Bindschadler, Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Breck Bowden, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, University of Vermont; Susan Crate, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University; and Janet Intrieri, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For more information about SEARCH activities, please go to: http://www.arcus.org/search or contact Hajo Eicken, SEARCH SSC Chair, (hajo [dot] eicken [at] gi [dot] alaska [dot] edu), or Helen Wiggins, SEARCH Project Office at ARCUS (helen [at] arcus [dot] org).